Cody Gakpo has outlined how important it is to show off his versatility by making himself available to play multiple positions for Liverpool.
At the beginning of the season when Liverpool were short on midfield options, Jurgen Klopp would have been delighted to have the option of turning to Gakpo, and the Dutchman performed admirably as a left-sided number eight as the Reds took a point from Chelsea and beat Bournemouth in their opening two games.
Since joining the club in January, fans have become accustomed to the versatility Gakpo brings to Liverpool’s attacking line.
The Netherlands star was coming off the back of a superb season and a half with PSV in the Eredivisie, where he had featured both as a left winger and a centre forward.
In his debut half-season under Klopp, however, the 24-year-old routinely played through the middle and even drew comparisons to Roberto Firmino for his skillset.
In an interview with Voetbal International (via Sport Witness), the Dutchman revealed how important it is for him to remain adaptable depending on the needs of the team.
He said: “In the beginning it always takes some getting used to when you are in a different position, but then it is also important to pick it up quickly and show that I am versatile as a player. You just want to play and be of value, it doesn’t matter where.
“The trainer sees me as an attacker, but I can also bring those attacking impulses from midfield. That’s the reason I also make minutes there. We also play very dynamically, so that we have the space to change positions. This often happens naturally.”
He added that the ability to stay versatile is also key to becoming a better player.
“Developing myself in several areas also suits me as a person,” he added. “That’s how I am, and that also applies to my development on the field. That also reflects on how I am as a player, that it is important for me to become a more complete player.”
This mentality has seen Gakpo quickly become a fan favourite, but settling in at the club as quickly as he did was made easier by international teammate and Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk.
Gakpo added: “Everyone at the club helped me a lot, including Virgil van Dijk who showed me the ropes, and I am very grateful to him for that.”
Liverpool added another Dutchman to their ranks on Deadline Day with the arrival of Ryan Gravenberch (who joined the club for around £34m from Bayern Munich), and both Van Dijk and Gakpo will now be on hand to help the 21-year-old find his feet on Merseyside.